Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mickey Klar Marks at Timely

Mickey Klar Marks left her mark on comics, literally.  First, She wrote a lot of text pages which are credited to her.   Second, she left her record books to the University of Mississippi, so we know what comic stories she wrote as well, Well sorta, as she didn't list where these stories appeared, but rather when she was paid.
And yes. she was paid for work for Timely.   As one can see from the short list below, she didn't write much for Timely, 1 text story in 1946, 9 humor stories in 1948, and 2 text stories in 1949.

Mickey Klar Marks (1914-1986)
Work for Timely
Record book (alphabetically arranged by UofM).

Annie Oakley: Cooking Without Gas 1948 8 pp
Annie Oakley:  Garden Rodeo 1948 7pp

Heads In The Clouds 1949 3pp text

Millie Does It Up Brown  1948 7pp

Mitzi:  Dean Mitizi 1948 10pp
Mitzi:  Lydia Sees Red 1948 7pp
Mitzi: The Overnight Garden 1948 9pp

Nellie the Nurse:  Nellie Cures All 1948 7pp
Nellie the Nurse:  The Taxi Ambulance 1948 8pp
Nellie the Nurse:  The Victor Doesn't Always Win 1948 7pp

Shred of Evidence 1949 6pp text
The Wrong Foot 1946 6pp text

Using and
we see Marks credited with
Junior Miss #37 December 1949  Operation Romance 5pp illustrated story
we can also find
 A Shred of Evidence 2pp text story  code# 5315  Tex Taylor #8 December 1949
 Heads In The Clouds 1pp text story   code#6065   Georgie Comics #24 November 1949
reprinted in Georgie Comics #32 August 1951

Can anyone else figure out which stories these are?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Current longest running series in Comics

When I first starting reading comics,  most comics publishers  would put their numbers on the front cover - and would encourage you to start collecting the series. This led to comic shops with back issues, so that one could buy issues they missed.  I recall buying comics with numbering in the 300s, inspiring me to think that  maybe one day I would  get those earlier numbers.  How things have changed.
    From the March 2014 Diamond catalogue for comics to be sold in May.

Longest running series:

   Avengers #30

Dark Horse
   BPRD Hell on Earth #119

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You #45
   (Looney Tunes published bi-monthly, and not out this month)

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #34

Spawn #243
Witchblade #175
Savage Dragon #197
the Walking Dead #127
Invincible #112

and others over 100 issues
Femforce #167

Antartic Press:
Gold Digger #212
Ninja High School solicited an issue recently

Archie #656
Archie Double Digest #251
Sonic The Hedgehog #261
and other bi-monthly titles not offered this month

no Simpson Comics offered this month

Grimm Fairy Tales #97 (sure to make 100)

It's possible I missed some, but obviously the trend is toward mini-series and away from long running
comics.  It may make very good economic sense for the company, but it does make long consecutive runs of a title much less likely for a collector to collect.  Therefore a massive change, and likely to deeply affect "the hobby".

personal note: so where have I been?  
1) moved from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains
2) various illnesses and surgeries, an illness  that saps the energy being the worst
3) annoyance at doing research and having folks re-write an article as their own.
And how has your year gone?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Howard G. Ferguson

Howard Grant Ferguson (1895 -1957)

Howard Ferguson was best known as the letterer for Simon and Kirby's studio. He started working for them in 1940  and continued with them up to the early or mid 1950s, lettering their work at DC, Prize, and Mainline.   He lettered Captain America #1. He also worked for Adolphe Barreaux's Majestic Studio. Bernard Bailey, and the Jacquet's Funnies, Inc.  For Jackquet, he lettered the Human Torch and Terry Vance.  Non-Studio work includes  lettering direct for DC, Archie,  Standard-Pines, and Avon.     There is even a non-comics advertisement in the early 1940s, where the lettering has his distinctive style - with the initials HGF.
   Prior to his lettering career, he did do some  commercial art circa 1939.

Ferguson was born in Washburn,  Wisconsin, his father died when Ferguson was very young.  He completed the 8th grade.  Moved to Detroit as a young adult, where he married and had a wife and child. This marriage however did not last long.   He remarried  and he and  his wife moved to New York in the late 1930s and lived with her family in Queens.  He continued to reside in Queens until his death.

below: Captain America splash taken from recent reprint. HG Ferguson lettering
*  I note that I had submitted some of this biography as a website comment back in 2011, no doubt much to the annoyance of someone else who a couple of days later submitted an expanded version of the same census data, which seems likely to have been written before my comment was submitted  At that time, information on Ferguson's second wife was not known.  She was around  15 years younger than he was, indeed only about  5 years older than Ferguson's child by his first wife.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Beech Allen" Timely text writer

In a previous post about pre-war Timely text writers I mentioned that I had no information on "Beach" Allen.  Later on for a non-comics project I came up with the dates of the pulp writer behind the name "Beech Allen" noted some work for the Goodman pulps and thought nothing of it.  Until it struck me that Beach would probably be a misprint of Beech.

"Beech Allen"
pen name for Hedwig C. Langer (1905-1969)

actress in the 1920s, appearing in Broadway in 1927

writer for pulps 31, 35- 38,  41 including for Goodman's Ka-Zar
writer for detective magazines at least in 1946
wrote plays in the mid 1940s
married Anatole Feldman (AKA  Anatole Field) and moved to upstate New York
He was an actor, playwright, pulp writer, pulp editor, comics editor, detective magazine editor, and technical writer. 
 She died of cancer, survived by her husband and children.

comics career
Rocket Comics # 3 May 1940  2 page text story "Treasure of the Don" Hillman,  Note that her husband was the editor of Rocket Comics. 
Marvel Mystery Comics #10 September 1940 2 page text story "Tiger Tail" Timely.  Credited to "Beach Allen" - previously sold text stories to Robert Erisman at Goodman's pulp division.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Alan R. Riefe (1925 - 2001)

Alan R. Riefe was a professional writer for most of his life. In this case by "professional", we mean just that, he wrote for a living,   And for a full time writer, living  near New York in the 1960s-1970s, it's not surprising that he shows up in a few comic books. Unfortunately many of his comic books were in that period of time just before comics began to run credits in most comics, so we're not sure exactly how many he wrote.

He was born 18 May 1925 in  Waterbury, Connecticut,   He served in the military during World War 2.  In 1947, he had been a  special student of pianoforte at the New England Conservatory of Music. The next year he was a Junior at  Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  He married in 1948, but sadly, his wife died about ten months later.   He graduated from Colby College in 1950.   His brother also attended there, and joined the CIA in 1952.  A quick run through Alan Riefe's novels shows no spy stories however.

From 1951 to 1965, he claims to have written for 24 network TV shows,  however
 Johnny Cyper ( shown in 1967) Oriolo Studios, an animated cartoon series
      is all I know for sure.

In 1955, he married again, this time it was a long marriage, with four children.
In 1965, he stopped writing for TV and began writing for magazines, comics, and novels.

    Magazines include SF stories for Boy's Life in 1964, 1966;
             Talking Pictures #1 -3 (Herald House, 1964-1965)   gag photos. He wrote the entire three issues

    Books: Quite frankly he wrote too many books for me to list here, but I'll list some
   Illustrated Woman Driver's Manual (1966) cartoon humor
    Sanford and Son (1973) photo caption humor
   Viper (1990) horror
    Sacred To Death (1991) horror

    as Barbara Riefe (his wife's name) from 1976 to 2000, Gothics and romance
   Book Series:
       Cage (6 total) 1975
       Tyger (2 total) 1975 -1976
       Doc And Raider (5+ total) 1979    using house name, J. D. Hardin
       Fancy Hatch (4 total)  1984  using name Zachary Hawkes
       Slocum (? total)      using house name Jake Logan
       Shackleford Legacy (? total)  using Barbara Riefe 

    Comic Books known: (all DC)
       Adventures Of Jerry Lewis #117 March-April 1970 (Jerry meets the non-super powered Wonder Woman, Dinah Prince)
       House of Mystery #193 July - August 1971 Voodoo Vengeance!
       Witching Hour #3 June - July 1969 The Death Watch
       Witching Hour #4 Sept-Oct 1969 Disaster In A Jar
It's known that he wrote more Jerry Lewis comics, as well as a war story.  None of which are credited.

He died 25 January 2001, he had been living in Wilton, Connecticut.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dixie Dugan and Renny McEvoy

Dixie Dugan was based on the books by J. P. McEvoy, "Showgirl" and "Showgirl in Hollywood".
McEvoy sold the motion picture rights to First National, and then the musical play rights to Ziegfeld.
So the theme was hot, McEvoy had written  comic strips before, back when he worked for the
Chicago Tribune, so why not another comic strip?

Showgirl started on October 21, 1929, changing its name to Dixie Dugan on December 23, 1929
It lasted up to October 8, 1966.  The theme of the strip changed from "show girl" to "working girl" in April of 1930.         The author of the strip was credited to J.P. McEvoy from 1929 to 1955, and then
Renny McEvoy from 1955 to 1966. Art credited to John H. Striebel. Sunday added Feb 5, 1933.
Topper strip was Good Deed Dotty.  Various artists assisted throughout the time, with Al Barre taking over the art sometime in the 1960s.

There are various articles and websites out on J. P. McEvoy, including Wikipedia, so I'll let you go and look on your own.  Just keep in mind that he shaved around 5 years off his age (yes, even in the 1920s, being old
was old fashioned), and that J. P. was a story teller and not a historian.

But who was Renny McEvoy?

Besides Dixie, we know that he wrote some other comic strips:
Hollywood Johnnie (1945 to 1948) also known as Hollywood Merry-Go-Round, and Screen Girl. Ths small strip on top of  the Sunday was  Movie Struck (1946 to 1948). Art by Jim Pabain, animator.
Merrie Chase (1949 to 1950)  art by Carl Hubbell, then Paul Reinman, both were known for their comic book work.

Rennie McEvoy (1905 - 1987)  was born Reynold Thomas Wurnelle, both parents were actors, his mother,  married J. P. McEvoy in 1915, when  Rennie was 10, and they  divorced in 1922   .
He lived with his grandparents in Freemont Ohio in the 1910s-1920s.  He attended Miami University in Ohio, for two years, leaving the school in 1929, when he was unable to afford the next year.
He first went to NYC, when he had minor roles in radio and Broadway.  He then returned home to Chicago,  then in 1931 moved to Elyra, Ohio, where his brother lived, and took a job as a clerk.
   An article syndicated in 1943, states that he started scripting Dixie Dugan 11 years earlier (1932),
Sometime between 1931 and 1939, he took his former stepfather's last name.
In 1939, Rennie appeared in the Broadway musical, Stars In Your Eyes, as a soundman, singing along with
Jimmy Durante, and Ethel Merman. Book of the show was by J.P. McEvoy.

He started to appear in bit parts in movies in 1941, moving into larger parts by the mid 1940s.
Newspapers in 1946 report that he had written for the Charlie McCarthy radio show.
A movie star, named Reynold Wurnelle shows up in Dixie Dugan in September 1949, where it is
believed he plans to marry Dixie.
He continued in movie and television, even after the end of Dixie Dugan, up to 1969.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Eastern Distributing Corporation

The American News Company controlled distribution for periodicals for the time period after the Civil War and up to World War One.  They had a monopoly of services at train stations and on trains, at the time the USA's most popular method of long distance transportation.   Around the time of the Great War, independent distriubtors started up, from Fawcett, Popular Science & McCalls, MacFadden, and others.
   And among the others was Eastern.  Eastern is best known for two reasons: it was owned by Paul Sampliner and distributed items by Harry Donenfeld, both later to be owners of DC Comics. It also provided employment for many folks who later started their own publishing company.

Eastern Distributing Corporation  1924 - October 1932
Paul H. Sampliner owner   1924 - 1932

1926 - advertises that Eastern distributed nationally.
1927 - Address was 45 W. 45th St. NYC
1928 - distributed 28 magazines
Feb 1929    Pilot  Charles A. Lindbergh takes letters and magazines from Eastern to Admiral Byrd via airplane.
November 1931: moved to 305 East 46th Street, NYC  (The Albano Building) 
January 1932  Michigan Courts ruled that the Michigan News Company  (Lightstone) did not have to pay Eastern for the magazines that had been furnished to them, because some of them were obscene and illegal under Michigan law.  Eastern would have to refund the deposit money.

 March 2,  1932 A Michigan appeals court ruled that the deposit money  could be used to pay for part of the non-obscene magazines, if a new trial indicated it should and indicated what percentage of the books had been legal under Michigan law.

July 14, 1932 contract signed with Mystery League to distribute their books.

October 1932 declared bankruptcy

May 1938 Last legal charge against P.H. Sampliner (for alleged fraud in the Eastern bankruptcy case) dismissed.

Steller  -Hugo Gernsbeck's publications   -1932
Popular Publications (pulp chain)             -1932   (probably from the beginning in 1930)
Shade (men's magazines)                         -1932
Mystery League  (books)                        -1932
Frank G. Menke   (books)             -1931 - 
Harry Donenfeld's magazines   

Brief Stories          - 1928 -
Plain Talk              -1932
Child Play              -1927-
Yankee Humor (Consolidated Features)     1927 - 1928

Paul H. Sampliner, President 1924 - 1932
Harold Hersey, General Editorial Advisory 1928
Robert T. Martin,  "an official"   1929
Warren Angel, Secretary and General Manager   - 1929
       (later with Kable, Ace, & Comic Corporation of America)
Charles Dreifus Jr, Secretary and Treasurer   - 1930 - 1932
     note correct spelling, it's not Dreyfus.

it is believed that Martin Goodman and Louis Silberkleit worked for Eastern, both up to 1932.
Silberkleit,     possibly,  as a regional supervisor.

I do plan to update this, as more information comes out.